American Morgan Larson, new skipper of Oman Air, had an incredible start to his Extreme Sailing Series career on the opening day of Act 1 in Muscat, Oman. The forty-year-old, a passionate surfer, who lives in Oregon, has an outstanding sporting CV including 3 America’s Cup campaigns and 6 World Championship titles but few pundits would have predicted the outcome today which resulted in Oman Air sharing the top of the leader-board after 6 races alongside pre-season favorites Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
“I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. I know there are a lot of talented teams but I think the format of the sailing suits my style,” said Larson. Modest on the day but when pushed there he showed an underlying confidence. “I believe we can win this, but we need podium positions at every event.”
The question everyone is asking here – who will win this season? The French team skippered by Pierre Pennec is renowned for their form and have been overall runners-up for the past two years.
“We won the event last year and it’s always good to ‘mark’ your territory so to be competitive 100% on day one is good,” said trimmer Hervé Cunningham. On paper, this is the team to watch.
It was Leigh McMillan and his crew on The Wave, Muscat who scored first blood in the first race of the day. The conditions may not have been challenging with the breeze ranging from 6-10 knots throughout the afternoon and it wasn’t long before Pennec’s team took control to win the next 2 races. Race 4 delivered the drama of the day when Oman Air 5th crew member Max Bulger went over the side.
“He somehow hung on to the rudder! I have seen a lot of people fall over board but I have never seen anyone hang on the way he hung on, it was quite impressive,” said Larson. He was quickly retrieved and Larson’s team of Will Howden, Charlie Ogletree and Nasser Al Mashari managed to regain their lead to win the race.
The new team on the Extreme Sailing Series circuit, Team Trifork, had their taste of their first real Extreme 40 competition and the Danish-led team loved it.
“Difficult, lot of learning but lot of fun! We finished 3rd in one of the races and we were in the fight all the time,” said co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen.
GAC Pindar, skippered by match racing supremo Ian Williams, were the new kids on the block last year but a year on and they are now contenders, ending the first day 3rd on the leader-board.
For more, go to www.extremesailingseries.com.